Democratic U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi says that in his first four months on the job, he found a Republican partner to push a proposal he contends would create greater job opportunities for young adults who don't attend four-year colleges.
Krishnamoorthi touched on the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act and his desire to work with Republican lawmakers during Monday's U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Freshman Forum series at Stonegate Conference and Banquet Centre in Hoffman Estates.
Under the legislation floated last week by Krishnamoorthi and Republican U.S. Rep. Glenn "GT" Thompson of Pennsylvania, states would have more flexibility in using federal money to respond to changing education and economic needs.
"I believe you cannot survive in this global economy without some form of postsecondary education," said Krishnamoorthi, whose 8th Congressional District includes parts of Cook, DuPage and Kane counties. "A high school diploma will no longer be sufficient. But that post secondary education does not have to be a four-year university or a four-year college. It can be career technical education, vocational education, community college."
State and local officials would be empowered to develop plans that improve the quality of career and technical education while taking into account a region's unique needs.
About 50 luncheon guests from the Schaumburg Business Association, Elgin Area Chamber of Commerce and the Hoffman Estates Chamber of Commerce warmed to the proposal. Northwest Suburban Teachers Union Local 1211 President John Braglia gave his support when he spoke during question-and-comment time.
"It's been a big thing with us teachers for many years now to get this complete and dominant emphasis on going to college into a proper perspective," Braglia said.
Krishnamoorthi, of Schaumburg, said most American workers do not have a college degree. He said improved career and technical education, and schools and businesses working together to create more apprentice programs, would lead to better jobs for those without a degree.